Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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Day : 300
Temperature : 17 degrees
Weather : Sunny
We have arrived in Cuzco…unbeknown to us, just in time for the craziness of Carnival!
We left La Paz for Copacabana, on the shores of Lake Titicaca several days ago. I'm not quite sure what we were expecting to find at Lake Titicaca, but it wasn’t at all what we had imagined. The town itself was ok, but very, VERY touristy. I guess we had imagined it to be somewhere more remote and exotic, but nope, it certainly wasn’t that. And so, after two ok days we decided to move on to Peru
Our 11 hour bus journey cost us 90 Bolivianos…just under £9. The border was only a 20 minute drive from Copacabana, and so we were soon off the bus and standing in the queue at the immigration desk. Once again we did our best to try to get our passport stamps positioned neatly in our passport…because we are running out of pages in our passports we cannot afford to have stamps stuck haphazardly in the middle of a page! Most of the border control staff on our journey so far have been pretty accommodating, although they always ask why we need the stamps positioned in such a way. Unfortunately, the Bolivian official couldn’t give a toss, and despite my pleas in my best Spanish, he proceeded to stamp my passport in the middle of half a page, now rendering the rest of the page useless as there is no room for any more stamps! Infuriating! He then gave Kevin THE most perfect stamp ever, squeezing it in on the tiniest corner in a way that you wouldn’t have thought possible! Grrrrr!
The guide on our bus explained the procedure for changing buses at Puno, and then informed us all to take extra care with our belongings, as there would be many people who try to steal things from us….and then he wished us all the best of luck. Hmmmm, we’d heard stories of Peru being bad for thefts and muggings, and this did nothing to calm those niggling nerves
We arrived in Cuzco in the evening and caught a taxi to our hotel, locking the doors on the way. We needn’t have worried, the taxi driver was rather nice and dropped us off at our hotel without any problems. Cuzco, is a lovely city…the central area anyway. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983, and is the historical site of the ancient Incan Empire…..and is the jumping off point for visiting the world famous Machu Picchu!
We took a wander into town yesterday and were surprised to see police, officials and gathering crowds everywhere. There was obviously something happening that day, and it soon became clear that it was the last day of Carnival, and the town was about to go crazy! The parades started mid morning with lots of dancing, music (the same music, over, and over, and over again…but that’s beside the point!) and local men, women and children dressed up in the most beautiful costumes. Then the order descended into total chaos as water bombs started flying through the air from the crowd on one side of the road to the other, then from roof buildings, and from just about anywhere. Infact, McDonalds seemed to be doing a roaring trade in providing water bombs to anybody who wanted them. Combine that with the fact that everybody and his dog was carrying cans of foam spray, and anybody and absolutely everybody were targets. Locals, tourists, kids, adults, parade participants, the crowds, the police….yep, you either got water bombed or sprayed with foam at point blank range. Totally insane and utterly exhausting! What an experience!